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Old 09-18-2011, 09:42 AM
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Default 38 Special and plated bullets-Update

Recently loaded 38 Special Xtreme 158 gr. SWC plated bullets I bought several months back. Normal bullet was 158 gr lead SWC, 3.1 gr. Winchester 231, which I chronographed at 640-650 for 6 rounds a couple weeks back. Was very pleased with the round, but had 2,500 plated bullets and no lead bullets.

Loaded up a test batch of 50 plated bullets and couldn't hit the paper at 25 yards, much less the target. I have my Model 67 sighted for a 6:00 hold, and with the lead, can do 2-2 1/2 " from sandbags. With the plated bullets, I have to hold center of target, and the point of impact is about 6 inches low, 3 inches right. So what gives? Thinking it's me, I switch back to the lead, back to 6:00, center of target. Plated, no such luck.

Things I have noticed:

Plated bullet is shorter (.665 vs. .725 for lead according to my calipers).
Both lead and plated mic at .358.
Both weight 158 gr, +- a bit.
Crimp is the same (very light)
OAL is the same

I think there is some sort of pressure difference causing this, but not sure why changing bullets would cause such a dramatic change.

Things I've thought about:

Changing crimp-seat bullet to cannelure and taper to hold (mild recoil so bullet shouldn't move)
Seat a tad deeper
Increase powder to about 3.5 gr. 231
Switch to 3.6 Titegroup (my old load) and see what it does
Dump remaining 2,450 plated bullets and replace with lead (offers to ship to you should include some form of compensation plus shipping if you are more than 50 miles away from the Sacramento area in the People's Republic).

Can anyone think of anything else to try, or know what's so different?

Thanks.

Bill

Last edited by WildBillD; 09-21-2011 at 04:05 PM.
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Old 09-18-2011, 11:42 AM
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Have you ever used plated bullets before?
I use Berry 158gr .357 double struck for my standard IDPA/SSR load, and they are accurate and reliable.
I use 4.3gr HP38 to make power factor, and the "crimp" is just enough to straighten out the bell.
If you crimp a plated bulet very much, you'll break the plating and get patterns instead of groups.
Why are you using an ultralight load with such low speed with a SWC? It may not be sealing.
Did you clean ALL the lead out of the barrel before shooting the copper bullets?
Revolver bullets are always seated to cannelure if it has one.
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Old 09-18-2011, 11:55 AM
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I use plated bullets in 9mm and 45, but this is my first with 38.

I don't have much crimp, but there is some. I'll loosen it up and try. I'll also try kicking up the load a bit because my first thought was not enough pressure. As far as the load, I was just trying things to see what worked the best. I made some 3.6 grain TiteGroup and this was the second batch with 231.

Thanks for the info.
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Old 09-18-2011, 12:08 PM
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Curious that the new bullet is hitting that much lower (assuming it's from a rest).That usually means it's moving at a higher velocity.The difference in bullet lengths will make a difference in pressure ( as will the plating) if you are using the same oal.Looks like you need to start at the beginning and work up a new load for this bullet.
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Old 09-18-2011, 02:07 PM
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Default Plated vs Lead

I've compared Berry's plated 185 gr HBRN bullets, Hornady 185 gr SWC, Sierra 185 gr JHP to LSWC and found the LSCW the most accurate at 25 & 50 yds; followed by Berry's plated HBRN, followed by the Sierra JHP. Least accurate were the Hornady SWC bullets. All were with Lyman or Sierra recommended starting loads with W231 and BE. BE was most accurate. However, I now use 200 gr LSWC over 3.7 gr N310 for bullseye shooting. All were with used in a full size 1911.
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Old 09-18-2011, 02:32 PM
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As OKFCO5 stated, bump your powder up to at least 4 grs

How are you crimping (what die) if it's a regular 38 die it will probably be a roll crimp which you can not apply very much on a plated bullet. Try a taper die if you have one or if you plan on using plated bullets perhaps buy one. JMO
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Old 09-18-2011, 03:18 PM
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I'm going to make a test run of 4.0 grains (which is beginning according to Lee manual, at least for LSWC), leaving the crimp as is. Then do the same with almost no crimp (it's a Lee FCD, so I'm sure it's a roll. It doesn't have much but when doing the initial set-up with the plated bullets, I had to beat the hell out bullet puller, so more than likely have too much crimp.

Thanks for the advice. I guess that's what makes reloading fun. Experimenting and adjusting.
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Old 09-18-2011, 04:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildBillD View Post
Then do the same with almost no crimp (it's a Lee FCD, so I'm sure it's a roll. It doesn't have much but when doing the initial set-up with the plated bullets, I had to beat the hell out bullet puller, so more than likely have too much crimp.

Thanks for the advice. I guess that's what makes reloading fun. Experimenting and adjusting.
The LFCD is Lee Facory Crimp Die, AKA taper crimp. It also has a sizing ring to make sure the rounds will chamber.

On my Lee dies the roll crimp is applied by the bullet seating die. For light revolver loads I back the seating die out until zero roll crimp is applied. Then adjust the LFCD so a slight crimp is applied just to make sure all the flare has been removed.
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Old 09-18-2011, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildBillD View Post
I'm going to make a test run of 4.0 grains (which is beginning according to Lee manual, at least for LSWC), leaving the crimp as is. Then do the same with almost no crimp (it's a Lee FCD, so I'm sure it's a roll. It doesn't have much but when doing the initial set-up with the plated bullets, I had to beat the hell out bullet puller, so more than likely have too much crimp.

Thanks for the advice. I guess that's what makes reloading fun. Experimenting and adjusting.

When I used plated bullets ( a lot of Berrys in semi autos) I loaded them just over midway for FMJ and sometimes almost max as they were not going over 1200 fps. In revolvers without a crimp they are gonna move on you or if you crimp to much it will break through the plating. When you "hammered out the bullets did you see a crimp formed, was the plating cracked??? As you have so many bullets (and they are good bullets) invest in a Lee taper die for the 38/357. It's cheap.$10.

Or just experiment with the die you have, crimp just a little and pull the bullet you should see just a slight ring (crimp groove) starting, adjust untill it is just about cracking the plating and back off a little. You are basically making your own cannelure in the bullet.

Hornady #8 lists for the 158 gr xtp FMJ bullet and HP 38/W 231 a range of start 3.7 to max of 4.9.grains.

No, your bullet is not the XTP which has a cannelure but the max FPS is 800 out of 4" SW. So midway is 4.3 grains.
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Old 09-18-2011, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by WildBillD View Post
I think there is some sort of pressure difference causing this, but not sure why changing bullets would cause such a dramatic change.

Bill
As it's been explained to me plated bullets are usually made with very soft lead. Pergaps they are obturating more than your LSWC and making a better seal?

I know that Berrys plated RN in my .45ACP start to really spread out at 4.6gr of Bullseye.
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Old 09-18-2011, 07:29 PM
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I use the Berry's 158 gr. RN plated bullet in my 38 Special loads. Ypoui have to use more powder to get equivalent velocities than one does with plain lead bullets. For exaple 3.6 gr. Trail Boss with the Berry's 158 gr. gave 600 fps while the cast lead bullet ofm the same weight gave 720 fps.
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Old 09-18-2011, 10:35 PM
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I load a lot of 158gr LSWC bullets for the .38 Special and most plated bullets use lead load data. My favorite load is a 158gr SWC over 4.0gr W231/HP-38. I'm sure it will work just as well for you with those Berry's bullets.
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Old 09-21-2011, 04:11 PM
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OKFCO5, ArchAngelCD and the rest:

I loaded up some 4.0 grains 231, and problem solved! The rounds are as accurate as I can be, I also loaded some 3.6 Titegroup (my standard load), and 3.8 Titegroup, both worked well, with a slight nod to the 3.8 for consistency. The 231 is a little softer than the 3.8 Titegroup, but maybe not quite as accurate (but close)

I guess 3.1 of 231 was a little droopy for any sort of consistency, and was obviously not developing enough pressure.

Thanks for all the advice.
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1911, 45acp, 640, 650, bullseye, crimp, hornady, idpa, winchester

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